A software project should probably be revealed to customers in as slow and simple a way as possible.
I mean, the choice seems to be to either complete the entire project and reveal it to all your customers at once.
Or do the project in small parts – improving with customer feedback as you go – and reveal each step to a select group of customers.
It’s funny because this is the wheelhouse where I work now, as a Business Analyst for a software company dealing in crop insurance.
And hats off to management, this is exactly the way that our last major project has been done.
But this “experimentation” mentality also happens to be the best way to do any project – even side projects.
Because you want the ability to tweak and change if nobody likes it.
If you’re ever tasked with a large software project, learn from our mistake. Pare back your design until it’s the smallest possible element of what you eventually hope to have. Show that to people you trust and get their feedback. Iterate on the fundamentals. Then build it one element at a time. Add functionality, data, features, visual elements, etc., until you’ve got something new to show your trusted advisers and beta customers. But don’t release it broadly until the buzz you’re getting from these groups is firmly in the “we love this and can’t live without it” camp.
-Rand Fishkin, Lost And Founder